On a cool, clear April morning, not even a full week into his presidency, Roy walked into his office to find a much older man already sitting at his desk. Though he faced the window, his gray hair stuck up unmistakably, and there was only one man the secretary would have allowed through the door at this hour.
"Fuhrer Grumman, sir," he said, snapping a salute out of habit.
"Missing a word there aren't you, Mustang?" Grumman said without turning.
"Emeritus," Roy corrected. "I believe you missed a word, too."
Grumman waved a hand impatiently. "I'm not here to talk to you one Fuhrer to another. I'm here for a more private matter."
"I beg your pardon?" Roy closed the door to his office at last and made his way over to the desk. Somehow he had missed the chessboard laid out there, but he smiled as he noticed it now, that memento of a past that now felt part of another lifetime entirely. They had played a handful of times in recent years, but Roy had long since realized their regular matches were a thing of the past. Perhaps it was on him, as he had finally begun to win almost as often as Grumman, and his determination to finally, finally win, had disappeared before his first transfer to Central.
"Have a seat, Mustang."
"You broke into my office to play a game of chess?" Roy asked, incredulous.
"This used to be my office."
"Because I used to be the Fuhrer." Seeing the look on Roy's face, Grumman continued, "I'm here to play one last game with you. For old times' sake."
"Surely you could have come to my house to play. You know where I live. Why are you sitting in my chair?" Even as he spoke, he hated how much like a petulant child he sounded. How much like Fullmetal. Perhaps there was something to the comparisons people had made between them after all. Like father like son. The thought came unbidden, and though he had met the boy's real father, he couldn't help but feel his heart swell with pride at it.
Grumman turned at last and surveyed the untouched board, frowning slightly. "I thought we might continue an old conversation. I'm not getting any younger, and I would like to walk my only granddaughter down the aisle before I'm too old to walk anymore. And certainly before I'm in my grave. You are aware that I missed that chance with my daughter, correct?"
"I—I am, sir. Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Roy sank into the chair across from Grumman and moved a pawn forward.
"Yes, I am. Because you have yet to ask for her hand, I'm here to speed things along," Grumman explained, moving a pawn of his own.
Roy moved a different pawn. "Major Hawkeye is a very capable and, dare I say, modern woman. I doubt she would be pleased to know that her grandfather arrived in my office to tell me to ask for her hand in marriage. In fact, I'm positive she would be insulted. Speaking of which, what did you do to arrange that she wouldn't be in my office when I got here?"
"I gave her the day off. Paperwork is easy enough to alter." A familiar glint appeared in the old chess master's eye.
Roy shook his head, feeling somewhat torn between offense on Riza's behalf and admiration at how sharp and cunning Grumman still was. "I thought we already had this conversation. The first time I ever beat you in a game, you practically tried to give her away."
"And you said it was too soon to talk about it. But here we are and look at you—you're Fuhrer now, and I thought we agreed that my dear Riza would become the future Fuhrer's wife."
"Ignoring the absolutely horrifying implications that statement holds in hindsight," Roy said, capturing one of Grumman's knights, "it doesn't feel right continuing this conversation without her in the room. She isn't some rare antique I'm trying to haggle a price for. She's a living, breathing person. Who usually has at least three guns on her person at any given time, I might remind you."
Grumman snorted. "Very funny, Mustang, but let's cut to the chase since you've already dived headfirst into this game. You're playing not asking me for her hand in marriage. You're playing me for it."
Roy didn't even look up from the board. "I assumed as much. Sir. But with all due respect, her father already offered it to me. Not in so many words, of course, but the sentiment was similar."
"Berthold Hawkeye was a jackass," Grumman grumbled as he captured one of Roy's bishops.
"On that," said Roy, "we are in full agreement."
A knock came at the door and the secretary's voice followed. "Fuhrer Mustang, your Major is here to see you."
"Send her in," Roy replied before Grumman had a chance to open his mouth.
The door opened and Riza appeared, still in her civvies. "Fuhrer Mustang. Grandfather." She tilted her head to one side as she spied the chessboard and silence reigned while she studied it.
"Riza, my dear, what are you doing here?" Grumman asked, a doting smile on his face as he watched Riza's studious face.
"Thought something was fishy about the scheduling and decided to trust my instincts and investigate. I was right, wasn't I?" She glared accusingly at her grandfather.
"Yes," he conceded. "I suppose you were. Though your beloved Fuhrer was never in any danger."
Riza's eyes narrowed slightly. "From the way he's sitting, I'm not entirely sure that's the case. What could you possibly be holding over his head this time? You've retired and he's replaced you. You are no longer his commanding officer. Unless…" She slipped through the room, holding her shoulders like the queen she knew she was. While both Roy and Grumman watched her with varying degrees of unease, she moved one of Roy's rooks for him. "Check."
Looking rather disgruntled, Grumman moved his king to safety. Riza countered by moving Roy's remaining bishop.
"Check," she said again.
Grumman huffed slightly as he captured it with his queen.
Her face as stoic as Roy had ever seen it, Riza captured the queen with her own. "Checkmate," she said coolly.
"I believe, sir" said Roy in a delicate tone, "Major Hawkeye has just won her own hand in marriage."
A slight jut of her chin showed that this statement confirmed Riza's suspicions and she gave the pair of them a wounded look. Turning to Roy, she said, "In that case, I regret to inform you, sir, that you won't be invited to the wedding night." She turned on heel and made her way toward the door with a stiff soldier's gait.
"Major, wait," Roy said, getting to his feet so quickly he knocked several captured pieces to the floor. Without even looking at them, he raced for the door and stepped in front of it before she could leave.
"If you wanted my hand in marriage, the person you ought to have asked is right here." The hurt in her voice was unmistakable and Roy wished desperately that they were somewhere more private, but there was no time for that.
He sank to his knees and reached for her hand. "I haven't got a ring on me at the moment, but if that can wait, Major—no, Riza—Hawkeye, will you marry me?"
The stony expression she had used to conceal her pain softened slightly, and her lips hinted at a smile. "Ask me later," she said. "I need to have a few words with my grandfather first."